NBA superstar LeBron James invited young patients at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation to the Cleveland Cavaliers practice facility to gift them his new Nike LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase sneakers. The shoes, which were designed for athletes with disabilities, feature a redesigned zipper closure and support system to make them more accessible.
The design is the latest evolution of Nike’s FlyEase technology, which debuted in 2015 and was named one of the year’s best inventions by Time magazine.
While many of Nike’s FlyEase models lack traditional lacing systems, the LeBron Soldier 10 was unique in that it was already a laceless sneaker. According to Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s senior director of athlete innovation, this allowed the designers to focus on improving entry into the shoe.
“One of the key learnings we’ve had in crafting accessible footwear is the importance of easy entry and exit of the shoe, not just simplifying its fastening system,” Hatfield said. “Eliminating the intricate hand movement of lace tying is important, but if the athlete cannot get their foot into the shoe, lacing becomes a moot point.”
To debut the new sneakers, James invited the children’s hospital patients to be among the first to try out his latest shoe.
“For myself and Nike to be able to collaborate on a project like this has been special since the very first time it was brought to the table,” James said.
LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase is available now in black, white and blue colorways for $140 (adult), $110 (kids) and $80 (infant) from nike.com.
Nike LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase, $140; nike.com